Lots of chatter in my world this week about the concept of  “support”  When people say that they “support you 100 percent” what exactly does that mean?

If it’s just the words alone — either expressed in a quick email or a hurried phone call — it means nearly nothing. It’s just too quick and easy. Too cheap.  Lovely sentiment, but empty.

But there’s a recipe to make those words mean something: add the concept of sacrifice.

Here’s something I wrote in a letter this week that sums up how I view it.

Support is not taking the easy way out. It’s not doing what is convenient or simple.

Simply answering a phone call, or expressing bland platitudes in an email = not support.

Endless talk that elicits no action = not support.

Support is going outside of your comfort zone to do selfless acts. It’s effort, action and initiative.

It’s about putting thought and empathy together and expressing that in a way that makes a difference.

It has nothing to do with the amount of money you make or spend, or the amount of airline tickets you buy.

Support almost always involves some measure of sacrifice, great or small. It might be the sacrifice of time or mindshare. It might involve lightening your wallet or bank account. Or a little dedictated time if that’s all you can — or need — to do. The sacrifice is usually different for every person. 

Support is about sacrifice with no thought of a payback in return.

It can come in all different forms and actions. Support can be taking an honest look at yourself in the mirror, realizing you’re doing things to hurt the ones you love, and making life altering changes for no other reason than to ensure others’ lives are better and more secure.

Support is what Michelle is doing to help B and M bring this child into the world.

Remember that old wine cooler brand from the 1980s — Bartles and James? Every commercial with those two old guys as the spokesman always ended with one of the them saying: “…and thank you for your support.”

That’s the way I’ll end this post too. Especially those who provide real, true support. You know who you are.